Monday, May 23, 2011

More Machine-Quilting Practice

I've learned a lot from my practice lessons on the long-arm machine.  The people who are professional long-arm quilters are TRULY talented people and I have a LONG way to go to be at that level!!

I had taken an older, less important quilt top to practice on this time. 

I had marked some simple curves on it and I'm still very wonky. 

I had finally decided to try some large meandering stitches on it and it looked quite good!

I gradually got smaller and smaller on the meandering.  I still can't get the small stippling correct but a medium meandering is quite easy for me.

Now, I am a certified user of their Tin Lizzie quilting machine!!  I still haven't witnessed the computerized Shirley Stitcher in action yet, but I think I'll wait for that until I bring in one of my quilts in.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hand-quilter learns Machine-quilting

I have three quilt tops finished.  I also have two more tops on the verge of completion.  Even though they are not completely finished, 5 quilt tops are a great accomplishment for me.

And now to the next step in the quilt journey:  QUILTING!

I am a hand-quilter.  I am pretty confident with my hand-quilting.  I may not have the most perfect stitches, but I'm satisfied with them.  But it takes such a long time to hand-quilt a quilt.  I tend to use more complicated quilting designs and trying to fit it into my sons' schedules, it can be impossible to hand-quilt in a short amount of time.

I've had the hardest time machine-quilting on my home sewing machine so I'm attempting to quilt on a long-arm machine. 

I'm working on a Tin Lizzie 18!!

At one of my local quilt shops, SewTech in Evansville, Indiana, had brought in some new quilting machines into their inventory.  And it was good luck for me that Lisa and Terri, the sweet ladies at SewTech, are allowing customers to rent time on their Tin Lizzies.

This my view at the driver's seat!!

It'll be a long learning process and I've only one day under my belt.  I am astonished on how some long-arm quilters can accomplish such beautiful work.  And they can work they machine so easily and freely as if it is an extension of the own hands.  I've got a way to go before I'm at that point.

Although the machine glides over the fabric, it seemed to run away from me occasionally.  I need to get a better feel for the machine and get my self better positioned beside it.  I was having a hard time standing along side of the machine, with my back and legs were giving me a bit of a problem.  I've got to love the lovely ladies at the shop because they are ready and willing to help me in my learning process. 

I think the quilt I brought in to quilt was a little complicated for my first time at the machine.  I didn't much done but I'm coming back next time with another quilt that will have a simpler quilting pattern.  I'm hoping to be better at ease with the second quilt.

I have to admit, it was a little frustrating at times.  This is not going to be quick learning process and I've got to give myself a break and allow myself to make a few mistakes.  But I've made myself a promise to not give up.  I'm going to learn how to machine-quilt- one way or another!!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Baseball Geek Learns Something New!

Tomorrow is our town's Opening Day for Youth Baseball.  Our schedules will be busy with our boys' baseball practices and games. 

I had made a baseball themed vest last year but I never finished it.  I wanted to wear it tomorrow to their games but I hadn't put the buttons and buttonholes on it.  And I HATE putting in buttonholes!!
Buttonholes are very simple to do.  But if you shift the fabric a little, you can make a horrible mess on a very simple project.  And then it's the horrible chore of ripping it all out and trying it again!

So I decided this morning to finally put the buttonholes in. I just happened to pull out my owner's manual and looked up the directions for placing buttonholes.  I pulled out a few attachments I hadn't seen in a long time.

I located my buttonhole foot with its automatic buttonhole attachments.  It was so easy to use, a no-brainer.  Just pick your size and press down on your control pedal.  But I wasn't satisfied with the finished look.

Then I located the sliding buttonhole foot so that I can manually put in the buttonhole.  The foot helps you to make sure the stitches remain straight.

The finished buttonholes!!

For all the years I've been sewing, I've never have used the buttonhole feet and its attachments. They make them SO much easier and faster!  I have no excuses for unfinished projects due to those buttonholes.

So this is how I'll look tomorrow.  I'm so proud of them.  Each son has his own side.  I have to show off my babies, gotta to embarrass them some how!!


16 Years and Counting

"I love being married. It's so great to find the one person
you want to annoy for the rest of your life."
-Rita Rudner

On this day, sixteen years ago, May 6, 1995, me and my hubby, who was my fiance at the time, decided to make a quick trip to Las Vegas and "tie the knot."

I had met him 10 years before we were married, making that 26 years together.  He is my best friend and still makes me smile everyday.  He was my first love and is still the love of my life and marrying him was the best decision I've ever made.

I've told him that I'm planning on leaving a longggggggg life. And I want him right beside me when I'm 100 years-old and we're celebrating our 76th wedding Anniversary!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week

At my boys' school, it is Teacher Appreciation Week.  As usual, I dive deep into another endeavor...making gifts for the teachers. 

I try to raise my sons to be bright, confident, and respectful young men.  And I couldn't have done that without the help of the staff at our school.  Plus, they take them off my hands for several hours everyday!!

This is what they took to school with them this morning.  A pot fill with herbs: basil, oregano, and thyme.

Each year, the school designates a week in May to focus on a another country.  The students learn about their language, customs, food, and culture.  This year, they will be learning about Italy and I thought it was a good opportunity to incorporate the two together.

That is the reason why I really didn't get much sewing done yesterday.  I had hand-drawn all the decorations in the pot!

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I had other gifts made for Monday morning, but in the hast to get to school on time, I had forgotten to take photos of them.  That's very typical for us on Monday mornings!!  I had made pocket tags that were made to be placed on water bottles.  In the pocket was a Crystal Light packet of lemonade and note from one or both of my sons to the teacher.  And written on the pocket was:

Thanks for all you do...
By "quenching" our kids'
"thirst" for knowledge!

They turned out very cute, done up in the school's colors.  Wish I had rememberd to take those photos!

I'm not expected to make any more teacher gifts, so I'm hoping to get back to my sewing, back to that "quick" project that has taken me weeks to work on so for!!


Monday, May 2, 2011

A Little Peek

Yeh, I know...I'm still working on that "quick project." It had gotten a little complicated and I had to set it aside for a while. 

 Although it is not yet finished, I wanted to give a peek of what I've accomplished so far:

I did it! I machine-quilted it!  And it didn't turn out too bad.  Learned that's it's a lot easier to quilt a small object than having to shove a queen-size quilt into the heart of my sewing machine.

Loved how it looked on the back side.

I'm about halfway done and hope to have the finished photos soon.